Water is an obvious necessity not only for plants but all life on earth. Water is so important to us that one of the first things scientists check for on a new celestial body is the existence of water.
But from my experience, the majority of plant failures are from too much or too little water.
The usual challenge for new indoor plants is too much water. If the plant looks a little out of sorts, the natural tendency for almost everyone is to give it a drink. That definitely is not always the cure. For almost every plant it is best to err on the side of too dry versus too wet.
It is also best to check the pots your houseplants are in and make sure they have drain holes in their bottoms. A fair percentage of houseplants come from funerals, and for cleanliness reasons come in pots with no drainage or in a wicker basket lined with plastic.
The usual challenge for new outdoor plants is not enough water. I always find it fascinating when walking public land in west river where the operative word is “arid,” and right where a homestead once stood is a clump of 150-year-,lold trees. Those trees didn’t happen by accident. They were coddled by the homesteaders, maybe even watered by bucket on a daily basis. The dedication to keep those trees going year after year through our usual hot, dry summers impresses me.
But sometimes too much water is the problem. For houseplants, check for a drain hole in the pot. Root drowning or root-loss causes stress, which allows infections to grow and for infestations to get a foothold.
(Art Smith is a co-owner of East Pierre Landscape and Garden Center, 5400 SD Hwy 34, Pierre)